The Higher Education Commission (HEC) will support and facilitate PhD holders of Pakistan in their efforts for employment on merit and quality, HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri said on Thursday.

His comments came in response to requests from unemployed PhD holders. The HEC chairman said the commission had established an e-portal: http://www.hec.gov.pk/english/services/PhD-DB/Pages/default.aspx in order to collect basic information. The e-portal was launched in August 2018. As of today, 170 PhD holders had registered themselves and 126 PhDs holders among these were unemployed.

Most of the unemployed had availed the Interim Placement of Fresh PhD (IPFP) opportunity provided by HEC for a period of one year. Under HEC rules, host institutions of the IPFP Programme were required to advertise the respective positions and give IPFP scholars the opportunity to compete for jobs. However, some of the scholars were unsuccessful in securing employment at their host university or elsewhere.

The HEC had offered around 4,000 jobs to fresh PhD holders through the IPFP Programme in universities and 80 per cent were inducted in the same universities and the others were inducted by other higher education institutions, the statement added.

The HEC was also looking at patterns of unemployment. The statement added that most of the PhDs were in Chemistry, Agriculture, Biology and Physics. “We are looking closely at these programmes to check how to enhance the employability of their graduates,” the HEC chairman said.

“For the unemployed, who have approached the HEC, the HEC has written to various institutions to consider them if they qualify and positions are available in the respective disciplines on competition basis.”

Dr Banuri said HEC also planned to conduct an orientation workshop for the PhDs to guide them in pursuance of their careers. The statement said fresh PhDs would be guided in preparation of CVs and developing skills to apply for positions in colleges as well, as only seven percent of college teachers were PhD holders in Pakistan. He said HEC would conduct gap assessment and would offer capacity building programmes.

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